Problematic problems: predicaments
I categorised yesterday’s post under Predicaments without actually using the word. Discussing climate change, I’ve favoured ‘predicaments’ over ‘problems’ (even ‘Wicked Problems’) since I read John Michael Greer’s definition. In the Archdruid Report, Greer described the difference: “a problem calls for a solution; the only question is whether one can be found and made to work … A predicament, by contrast, has no solution. Faced with a predicament, people come up with responses. Those responses may succeed, they may fail, or they may fall somewhere in between, but none of them ‘solves’ the predicament, in the sense that none of them makes it go away.”
That’s a fundamental distinction. The competing ‘solutions’ to climate change are, of course, nothing of the sort because they cannot make it go away. They may be solutions to other ‘problems’ — poverty, unequal development, energy crises, extinctions etc — which might be why different worldviews frame climate change differently to start with. But altered climate (and other altered systems the climate interlinks with) will remain something all human and other beings will have to respond to — live with — more or less successfully. One of our problems is ‘problems’.